Handy productivity software for your home and office
by Igor Ljubuncic on 25 July 2019
Discovery is an integral part of any store experience. Sometimes, you know what you want and need, and the experience can be short and transactional. On other occasions, you want to explore, and search for new things. This applies equally to shopping malls as it does to software.
In this article, we would like to give you an overview of several rather interesting entries from the Productivity section in the Snap Store, to help you get started on your discovery journey. While Linux users are familiar with the tried-and-tested set of a small number of popular, long-time players, there are many colorful, unique applications out there, waiting to be found and used. Let’s browse around.
Scriptwriting isn’t an everyday activity, but when you do decide to create your first theater performance or a screenplay, you realize that the task is far more complicated than it first seems. Celtx is a fully featured media pre-production tools suite, designed to help people organize and manage their scripts, novels and other projects.
The application can be a little overwhelming at first, as it comes with lots of options and features. Its tabbed interface lets you manage multiple projects at the same time, from audio and comic books to complete stage plays. Celtx also comes with several sample projects to help you get started.
In your project files, you can add scenes, and then annotate each one with notes, index cards, the list of characters (cast), and other information. This can help you – as well as other people collaborating on your project to more easily browse and manage potentially vast and complex sets of text and media. Reports are also very practical, especially if you are not too familiar with the specific work, and they let you peruse the material and get a better understanding at a glance.
The Master catalog is another highly useful feature – it contains all the resources you have put into your script, including media files, characters, locations, props, and other assets. You have the ability to add tags, so you can find the necessary content more quickly, or even export it so other people can use it.
Celtx is a complex, advanced toolbox for serious writers and production managers, and it hides an impressive volume of capabilities behind an unassuming interface. You can find and install the application from the Snap Store.
Perhaps you’re not writing screenplays, but maybe you do a lot of presentations, lectures or maybe speeches? Some people like to have a visual aid to help them deliver their material. For example, most office suite presentation applications come with a split mode, which lets you show slides on one screen but then have the thumbnails and comments on another. There are also programs that feature an overlay timer, to help you pace your presentations. And then, we’ve all seen blockbuster movies and series where important people use transparent teleprompters positioned slightly off camera, with important text scrolling up.
Studio equipment is out of the budget reach and need of most people, but having a tool that can help you sharpen up presentation is quite useful. Imaginary Teleprompter is a professional-grade, free teleprompter. It comes with a long list of powerful features like text mirroring and dual-screen support, rich text editing, image support, custom styles, tablet mode, webcam mode, auto-save and hardware-accelerated graphics.
Imaginary Teleprompter is relatively easy to use – and its default presentation gives you helpful hints on how to get started. For instance, you can use anchors – very much like HTML anchors, so you can jump between sections of your text. You also have the option to slow down or speed up the text scrolling using arrow keys. You can also pause the text.
The editor interface is very much like any word processor, so you have a lot of flexibility in how you create your content. At the top of the interface, there are several major functions, including the in-frame orientation (flip, mirror, etc.), you can use additional screens, change the color scheme, as well as decide where the actual focus is – by default the words you’re supposed to say are shown in the middle of the screen vertically. Then, you can also change the speed and font size, as well as display a timer.
Using Imaginary Teleprompter is quite fun, and it can also be used for recreational purposes, like movie-quite fun parties, or even Karaoke, come to think of it. But its main focus is to help people improve the rhythm and precision of their presentations, and it does that remarkably well from a simple, web-like interface.
The application is available in the Snap Store.
Memory is a fickle thing. Which is why many people like to keep notes. If you’re after a powerful note-taking and reminder application, Recollectr probably fits the bill. When you install and launch the program for the first time, it will display the default, Quickstarter Guide to help you get around.
Recollectr comes with lots of useful options. For instance, you can import HTML and md files. You can also style and format your notes, with code snippets, bulleted or numbered lists, quotes, and more. You can use create todo items with checkboxes and then set reminders. It allows you to add images to your notes, but from what I’ve been able to test, this only works by pasting an image from a clipboard rather than pointing to a file on the disk. Recollectr also comes with lots of keyboard shortcuts, designed to streamline your work.
When not in immediate use, Recollectr sits quietly in the system area, waiting for your prompt. Once you start accumulating notes, you will also begin to use and appreciate the search functionality. Finally, you can pin or archive notes to keep the clutter down or prioritize your work. Last but not least, paid users get encrypted cloud backups.
Recollectr aims to be several things, including a task manager with scheduled reminders, note keeper as well as an archive of useful factoids and data, and it manages to blend all this functionality without feeling busy or complicated.
Notes can keep you tidy and organized, but what if you want to map and visualize complex activities or ideas without going full project manager? Heimer may be the answer. It’s a mind-map diagram-based creation tool, with focus on speed and simplicity.
The workflow is indeed simple and straightforward – you create blocks, which you can fill in with text, with optional color coding. You can then drag & drop the idea blocks around and associate them with others, to create the map you need. You can duplicate items in the diagram for faster work.
Heimer best works with an external mouse device, so you can quickly zoom in and out, or drag elements around. If you don’t like any of your changes, there’s an unlimited undo functionality. Once you’re happy with your maps, you can export them, including PNG files with a transparent background (the blue canvas is visible only in the application’s workspace).
Heimer works well on its own, but then you can use it alongside other productivity applications, like perhaps Celtx or Recollectr, especially if you need to visualize dependencies and hierarchy among different objects, ideas or concepts in your projects.
Productivity comes in all shapes and forms – and we’ve only covered a small facet of this category here. There’s actual value in the software we covered here, but then the discovery journey was also quite fun. Whether you’re just looking to somewhat streamline your task keeping or work on serious projects, there’s something to be found in the Store. We will come back in the future with other compilations from other categories. Meanwhile, if you have any recommendations on smart, practical software, please join our forum and let us know. We’re always happy to explore and learn new things.